16 January 2013
Woman wins landmark religious discrimination case at ECHR
Compensation has been awarded to a British Airways (BA) employee in a landmark religious discrimination case.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the major airline breached Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights by forcing Nadia Eweida to remove her crucifix necklace from view while working at Heathrow Airport in 2006.
Ms Eweida's case was affected by the fact that BA amended its uniform policy around a year after this dispute occurred and the ECHR claimed the UK government had placed too much focus on the company's claim that it had to project a neutral professional image.
Therefore, the 60-year-old has been rewarded as Europe's foremost civil court has ruled she is entitled to £1,600 in compensation and £25,000 in costs from the British administration.
Speaking to BBC London radio after the conclusion of the case, Ms Eweida said that while her seven-year battle had not been an "easy ride", she is now "jumping with joy".
"Words fail to express [my jubilation] … I am very pleased that Christian religious rights have been vindicated, both in the UK and Europe," she noted.
The claimant went on to say she is thrilled that the ECHR has "specifically recognised that I have suffered anxiety, frustration and distress" throughout the duration of her legal action.
David Cameron took to his Twitter profile to express his pleasure at the ECHR's ruling, noting he is "delighted" that the principle of wearing religious symbols at work has been upheld.
"Ppl (sic) shouldn't suffer discrimination due to religious beliefs," the prime minister added.
Meanwhile, Mark Hammond, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the right of individuals to express their beliefs is a "vital freedom" that is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
He went on to say that the complications of this case could have been avoided had there been a "common sense" approach to resolving the issue.
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Posted by Chris Stevenson